‘Rimbaud the Communard. Rimbaud the Decadent. Rimbaud the Symbolist. Rimbaud the Surrealist. Rimbaud the Adventurer. Rimbaud the Catholic…’

The myth of Arthur Rimbaud was born during his life time. As early as 1871, the figure of ‘Rimbaud’ was invented in the literary salons of Paris that he then frequented. Since that time, it has been appropriated by countless individuals and groups. Thus Rimbaud occupies a particular position within the cultural landscape. His youth, his revolt, his precocious genius, his relationship with Verlaine, the sudden turn away from his art, his adventurous life in Africa, everything seems to concur with the fascination around this figure. But what makes Rimbaud a revelant myth for us today?

Florence Derieux is an art historian and curator based in Reims since 2008 when she became director of the FRAC Champagne-Ardenne. She was previously Curator at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Deputy Director of the Picasso Museum in Antibes, Curator for Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Lausanne and Associate Curator at Le Magasin – Centre National d’Art Contemporain. In 2007-2008 she taught Art History and History of Exhibitions at the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Montpellier and the Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne.

Video documentation by Vincenzo Simone. Photos by Giulia Casanova.